Unforgivable?

Unforgivable?

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

by Phil Johnson

Several years ago in a live Q&A session, someone asked John MacArthur if taking the mark of the Beast during the Great Tribulation would be an unpardonable sin. His answer, in short, was no. Though there is a stern warning against taking the mark of the Beast in Revelation 14, the sin is not categorically said to be unpardonable. (That would contradict Matthew 12:31.) The point of the severe language in Revelation 14 is to make clear what an utterly reprehensible sin it will be to swear an oath of willful loyalty to Antichrist.

Someone posted John MacArthur’s reply to that question on YouTube with a melodramatic one-word title in all caps: “OUTRAGE.” Gossip-mongers on the Internet got hold of it, apparently, and within days someone wrote to our ministry saying, “I saw pastor John on a YouTube video saying the way to be saved in the Tribulation is to take the mark of the Beast.”

Well—no.

If someone listens to Pastor MacArthur’s reply and imagines he was saying it’s no great sin to receive the mark of the Beast, listen again; that grossly twists what he actually said. The question is not (as one writer suggests) “How Far Can You Go and Still Be Able to Repent?” The point John MacArthur was making is about the extremes to which God’s grace will reach in order to seek and save a sinner.

Yes, Revelation 14:9–11 says, “If anyone worships the beast and his image, and receives a mark on his forehead or on his hand, he also will drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is mixed in full strength in the cup of His anger; and he will be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb. And the smoke of their torment goes up forever and ever; they have no rest day and night, those who worship the beast and his image, and whoever receives the mark of his name.” Clearly, receiving the mark is a sin that will send those who commit it to hell.

But the Bible also says, “Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God” (1 Corinthians 6:9–10). In short, all sin carries the threat of eternal doom, and some particularly heinous sins have a built-in hardening effect that makes them particularly dangerous. Scripture occasionally singles out common sins that have this peculiarly soul-destroying effect.

On the other hand, only one very specific sin is ever said to be unforgivable. Any sin that is repented of is forgivable. Immediately after declaring all fornicators, drunkards, and swindlers unfit for heaven, the apostle writes, “Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God” (v. 11). After saying, “Whoever denies Me before men, I will also deny him before My Father who is in heaven,” Jesus famously forgave Peter, who denied Him before men.

Jesus Himself said, “Any sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven people, but blasphemy against the Spirit shall not be forgiven ” (Matthew 12:31, emphasis added). The one unpardonable sin was the sin of those who had seen His miracles with their own eyes; they knew He was the true Messiah; they were part of the generation to whom He was personally sent. And yet they attributed His powers to Satan. That was unforgivable because it was such a hard-hearted, willful expression of utter rejection from fully enlightened hearts, who punctuated their rejection with an extreme blasphemy. Those Pharisees had stood in the presence of the living embodiment of all truth; they heard His words and saw His works. All the mysteries of Christ had been unveiled before their very eyes. And yet they spurned Him. There was nothing else that could be shown to them to enlighten them further. They were not deceived; they knew full well what they were doing. That’s why their sin was unpardonable (cf. 1 Timothy 1:13).

Revelation 19:20 indicates that multitudes will take the mark of the Beast because they are deceived. Scripture does not say that they are thereby automatically hardened forever against repentance. That is not the point of the strong warnings.

This whole issue suddenly became a matter of intense controversy when it was mentioned on a provocative radio program. It’s certainly not worth all the ink that has been wasted and all the bandwidth that has been consumed by angry people demanding explanations and retractions. This much should certainly be clear from the biblical text (and I think would be affirmed by all sides): Taking the mark of the Beast is high treason against Christ and will be judged by God accordingly. Meanwhile, the Lord is “good, and ready to forgive, and abundant in lovingkindness to all who call upon [Him]” (Psalm 86:5).

http://www.gty.org/blog/B131030

October 31, 2013 Bible Reading

October 31

Reading for Today:

Jeremiah 47:1–48:47

Psalm 119:113-120

Proverbs 28:5

2 Timothy 4:1-22

Notes:

Jeremiah 48:11, 12- This wine-making imagery is vivid. In the production of sweet wine, the juice was left in a wineskin until the sediment or dregs settled onto the bottom. Then it was poured into another skin until more dregs were separated. This process continued until the dregs were all removed and a pure, sweet wine obtained. Moab was not taken from suffering to suffering so that her bitter dregs would be removed through the purging of pain. Thus the nation was settled into the thickness and bitterness of its own sin. Judgment from God was coming to smash them.

2 Timothy 4:2- the word. The entire written Word of God, His complete revealed truth as contained in the Bible (3:15, 16; Acts 20:27). Be ready. The Greek word has a broad range of meanings, including suddenness or forcefulness. Here the form of the verb suggests the complementary ideas of urgency, preparedness, and readiness. It was used of a soldier prepared to go into battle or a guard who was continually alert for any surprise attack—attitudes which are imperative for a faithful preacher. in season and out of season. The faithful preacher must proclaim the Word when it is popular and/or convenient and when it is not; when it seems suitable to do so and when it seems not. The dictates of popular culture, tradition, reputation, acceptance, or esteem in the community (or in the church) must never alter the true preacher’s commitment to proclaim God’s Word. Convince, rebuke. The negative side of preaching the Word (the “reproof” and “correction”; 3:16). The Greek word for “convince” refers to correcting behavior or false doctrine by using careful biblical argument to help a person understand the error of his actions. The Greek word for “rebuke” deals more with correcting the person’s motives by convicting him of his sin and leading him to repentance.

DAY 31: Describe how Paul recaps his life in 2 Timothy 4:6–8.

“For I am already being poured out as a drink offering” (v. 6). Meaning his death was imminent. In the Old Testament sacrificial system, a drink offering was the final offering that followed the burnt and grain offerings prescribed for the people of Israel (Num. 15:1–16). Paul saw his coming death as his final offering to God in a life that had already been full of sacrifices to Him. “My departure” speaks of Paul’s death. The Greek word essentially refers to the loosening of something, such as the mooring ropes of a ship or the ropes of a tent; thus it eventually acquired the secondary meaning of “departure.”

“I have fought…have finished…have kept” (v. 7). The form of the 3 Greek verbs indicates completed action with continuing results. Paul saw his life as complete—he had been able to accomplish through the Lord’s power all that God called him to do. He was a soldier, an athlete, and a guardian. “The faith.” The truths and standards of the revealed Word of God.

“Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness” (v. 8). The Greek word for “crown” literally means “surrounding,” and it was used of the plaited wreaths or garlands placed on the heads of dignitaries and victorious military officers or athletes. Linguistically, “of righteousness” can mean either that righteousness is the source of the crown or that righteousness is the nature of the crown. The crown represents eternal righteousness received through the imputed righteousness of Christ at salvation (Rom. 4:6, 11). The Holy Spirit works practical righteousness (sanctification) in the believer throughout his lifetime of struggle with sin (Rom. 6:13, 19; 8:4). But only when the struggle is complete will the Christian receive Christ’s righteousness perfected in him (glorification) when he enters heaven (Gal. 5:5).

http://www.gty.org/resources/devotionals/daily-bible

Training in Righteousness

Training in Righteousness

[COLOR=Red]”All Scripture is . . . profitable for . . . training in righteousness” (2 Tim. 3:16).

We conclude our study of the character and benefits of God’s Word by focusing on the benefit that ties all the others together: training in righteousness. Everything the Word accomplishes in you through teaching, reproof, and correction is aimed at increasing your righteousness so you’ll “be thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Tim. 3:17, NIV).

“Training” refers to training or educating a child. The New Testament also uses the term to speak of chastening, which is another important element in both child rearing and spiritual growth (Heb. 12:5-11). The idea is that from spiritual infancy to maturity, Scripture trains and educates believers in godly living.

Scripture is your spiritual nourishment. Jesus said, “Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God” (Matt. 4:4). Peter exhorted us to be like newborn babes, longing “for the pure milk of the word, that by it [we] may grow in respect to salvation” (1 Pet. 2:2).

You should crave the Word just like a baby craves milk. But Peter prefaced that statement with an exhortation to put “aside all malice and all guile and hypocrisy and envy and all slander” (v. 1). That’s the prerequisite. James taught the same principle: “Putting aside all filthiness and all that remains of wickedness, in humility receive the word” (James 1:21). Attempting to feast on Scripture without confessing your sin is like attempting to eat a meal while wearing a muzzle.

Either the Word will keep you from sin or sin will keep you from the Word. Deal with sin immediately so it doesn’t spoil your appetite for God’s Word. And even if you know the Bible well, be regularly refreshed by its power and reminded of its truths. That’s the key to enjoying spiritual health and victory.

Suggestions for Prayer:

Thank God for the nourishment His Word provides.

Seek His wisdom and grace in dealing with personal sin. Don’t ignore it, for it will diminish your desire for biblical truth.

For Further Study:

Read Philippians 3:1 and 2 Peter 1:12-15.

What did Paul and Peter say about the importance of being reminded of biblical truths you’ve already learned?

Do you follow that advice?

From Drawing Near by John MacArthur Copyright © 1993. Used by permission of Crossway Books, a division of Good News Publishers, Wheaton, IL 60187, www.crossway.com.[/COLOR]

http://www.gty.org/resources/devotionals

Separating Regenerate Christianity from Counterfeit Christianity

Separating Regenerate Christianity from Counterfeit Christianity

Posted on October 28, 2013

by Mike Ratliff

34 “Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. 35 For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. 36 And a person’s enemies will be those of his own household. 37 Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. 38 And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. 39 Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.” (Matthew 10:34-39 ESV)

God is sovereign. God is a Covenant God who has not relinquished any of His sovereignty nor has He left His people’s eternal status up to their fickle, fallen natures. However, those God saves are truly saved. Their hearts are regenerate. They are eternally His. None of eternal security is in their hands. Instead, they are held in His capable and omnipotent hands.

31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? 33 Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. 34 Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? 36 As it is written, “For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.” 37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:31-39 ESV)

22 At that time the Feast of Dedication took place at Jerusalem. It was winter, 23 and Jesus was walking in the temple, in the colonnade of Solomon. 24 So the Jews gathered around him and said to him, “How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Christ, tell us plainly.” 25 Jesus answered them, “I told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in my Father’s name bear witness about me, 26 but you do not believe because you are not part of my flock. 27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. 28 I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. 30 I and the Father are one.” (John 10:22-30 ESV)

Now, with these two passages firmly in our understanding, look at the passage I placed at the top of this post. What did Jesus say would mark His disciples? Here’s the passage again.

34 “Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. 35 For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. 36 And a person’s enemies will be those of his own household. 37 Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. 38 And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. 39 Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.” (Matthew 10:34-39 ESV)

Not only are God’s people eternally His, they are changed eternally as well. They love God above all. They put God first in everything. They do and say things that will incur the wrath of this lost and dying world, but that does not deter them at all. They serve God as Lord — naturally. They keep His Law naturally. They die to self and live for Him alone. Of course this is a process and will increase in their character over time as God sanctifies them. They will find true life in their death to self. This is true godliness. All of this is genuine Christianity that is born from a regenerate heart. Notice, those who truly belong to God will be focused or centered on him, not men while the disingenuous (so-called christians) will be much more concerned about offending men. The regenerate will be all about bringing glory and honor to God while the focus of the false Christians will be on pleasing the world, to not be offensive to men. That’s a huge contrast.

What is Counterfeit Christianity then? All we have to do is look at the passages we have already read here and look at the contrasts. A counterfeit Christian is one who is not regenerate. God has not made them new creations. They have not been reborn as genuine Christians have. (2 Corinthians 5:17) [I]If this is the case then how do people become deceived into believing that they are Christians when they aren’t? [/I]The answer is quite simple. Christian leaders (so-called) tell them lies based upon a false theology that is found nowhere in scripture. This false theology says that people are saved by doing religious things such as praying a sinner’s prayer. When doubt falls heavily upon them, and it will because of their lack of spiritual growth, their Christian leaders (so-called) tell them to trust in “their decsion” that was sealed by their sinner’s prayer. Since these people are incapable of true godliness that lines up with Christ’s standards in the above scriptures, their Christian leaders (so-called) have created a new form of godliness that any religious person can do, regenerate or not.

This new form of godliness does not include suffering for Christ’s sake. It does not include denying self, at least not much. It does not include living for God and His glory above all else. Instead the bar is set very low. It includes things such as faithfulness in Church attendance, daily Bible reading, daily devotions, and of course, financial support of their local church. When asked to serve in church, those who agree to do so are looked at as “godly” while those who don’t are looked down on by those who do. Is this the form of godliness that Jesus was talking about? These are good works, but anyone could do them, regenerate or not. The Scribes and Pharisees did the same thing with their own version of the Law during the day of our Lord’s earthly ministry. They deceived themselves and their followers into believing they were actually keeping God’s Law, which no one can do, by keeping a rigorous set of man-made Laws that, even though burdensome and a heavy load, they were sure they were earning their salvation by keeping them.

Genuine godliness exists consistently as a marker in the lives of God’s regenerate believers. They may be religious, but their relationship with God and their resultant obedience to all of His commands will mark them as “not of this world.” They will deny self, take up their crosses, as they do and say things that most “religious Christians” would never do or say because that would get them in hot water and mark them as troublemakers. They will obey God no matter the cost because they have counted the cost and know that the eternal is what really matters, not the temporal. They may even take on a false christian (so-called) teacher or leader and using their godly armor and God’s Word to smite them hip and thigh all for the glory of God even if no else notices. Lastly, I believe the following passage describes those Christian leaders (so-called) that are leading masses of religious people to destruction with their false doctrines.

1 But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. 2 For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3 heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, 4 treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, 5 having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people. 6 For among them are those who creep into households and capture weak women, burdened with sins and led astray by various passions, 7 always learning and never able to arrive at a knowledge of the truth. 8 Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so these men also oppose the truth, men corrupted in mind and disqualified regarding the faith. 9 But they will not get very far, for their folly will be plain to all, as was that of those two men. (2 Timothy 3:1-9 ESV)

Soli Deo Gloria!

https://mikeratliff.wordpress.com/2013/10/28/separating-regenerate-christianity-from-counterfeit-christianity/

5 differences between Catholic theology and the gospel

5 differences between Catholic theology and the gospel

by Jesse Johnson

With Reformation Day this week, it is a good time to remind ourselves of what exactly the differences are between the Roman Catholic Church and Protestants. Certainly on just about every single area of theology there are differences, but here are what I think are the five most glaring and significant issues that separate the Catholic Church from the gospel of grace:

1) Justification

Evangelicals teach that sinners are justified on the basis of faith alone, and that ones’ faith is placed in the finished substitutionary work of Jesus on the cross, confirmed by his glorious resurrection, and that this is a gift based entirely on his grace. Finally, that justification is complete and total at the moment of our conversion, and that believers never grow more justified.

In contrast the Catholic church teaches that justification is a process that includes works (with those works “infusing” one’s faith), and that those works are the cause of the justification process. Beyond that, the Catholic Church teaches:

“If anyone says, that by faith alone the impious is justified; let him be anathema” (Council of Trent #9)

Or:

“If anyone says that the justice [or justification] received is not preserved and also not increased before God through good works but that those works are merely the fruits and signs of justification obtained, but not the cause of the increase, let him be anathema” (Council of Trent, 24).

2. The Pope as head of the church

For evangelicals, the church is made up of all of those who have been justified by God through faith. Local churches are led by elders, and each church is generally autonomous. Jesus Christ is the head of the church, and there is no authority over any local church on earth apart from Scripture. Elders and pastors are fallible in how they lead the church.

In the Roman Catholic teaching, the church is composed of laity and is led by those who have received the sacrament of Holy Orders (deacons, priests and bishops). The head of the church is the Pope, who when speaking authoritatively on matters relating to the church, is protected from the possibility of error concerning doctrine and morals of the church. Also, for anyone to be saved, they must be under the Pope’s authority:

“We declare, say, define, and pronounce that it is absolutely necessary for the salvation of every human creature to be subject to the Roman Pontiff” (Unam Sanctam, 1302).

3. Mass vs. communion

For evangelicals, communion is commemorative, and acts as a remembrance of the substitutionary atoning work of Jesus. The bread is symbolic of the body, and wine symbolic of the blood. There is nothing mystical or meritorious about it, but it is a means of grace and of provoking growth in godliness.

The Catholic Church teaches transubstantiation, that the bread and wine are transformed literally into the body and blood of Jesus. Thus in the mass, the priest calls Jesus down from heaven, and in the breaking of the bread Jesus is re-sacrificed. The mass is meritorious, as one of the seven sacraments, and it is a “true and proper sacrifice.” Here again is the council of Trent:

If any one saith that in the Mass a true and proper sacrifice is not offered to God; or, that to be offered is nothing else but that Christ is given us to eat; let him be anathema.”

As a side note, many of the Protestants and puritans made martyrs by the RCC went to their deaths over this issue. They considered participation in the Mass to be idolatry, and refused, and often were put to death for their refusal.

4. [B]Mary[/B]

For evangelicals, Mary was Jesus’ mother, a sinner, and one who was saved from her sins by her faith in Jesus. We recognize a period of her life where she did not believe in Jesus (see, for example, Mark 3:30-33), but that by the time of Jesus’ death she had placed her faith in him as her Messiah. She had other children after Jesus, and died a physical death. She is to be admired as a woman of faith.

In the Catholic Church, Mary is an object of devotion—and in much of the world, she is an object of outright worship. It is normative to pray to her (consider, for example, the Hail Mary), and it is taught that she was sinless. In fact, the Immaculate Conception is the Catholic doctrine that Mary was conceived without a sin nature, thus she was not a recipient of Jesus’ redemption, but instead was a participant in that redemption. She was a perpetual virgin, and did not die a physical death, but was rather assumed into heaven, where she reigns now as the Queen of heaven and is herself Ineffabilis Deus (“ineffable God,” or “inexplicably divine”)

5. Purgatory

Evangelicals believe that there is no such place as purgatory, but that hell is real and heaven is obtainable only as a gift from God, through faith in Jesus’ sacrifice, and this is all of grace. For those who place their faith in Jesus, when they die they are immediately ushered into glory, where they will be in the presence of the Lord.

In Catholic theology, purgatory is where Catholics go when they die. Only those who are in a state of grace may go there, and once you have suffered for your non-mortal sins, you are made ready to see heaven. Thus purgatory is not eternal—but it is like hell in another way: purgatory involves both flames and suffering, and serves to make atonement for sins that you did not confess before you die. In many ways, Purgatory is the glue that holds the system together. Because it is a system where eternal judgment is based on works, and because sins are frequent and it is impossible to know and confess all of ones’ sins, purgatory is an essential piece of Catholic theology.

I give this list here simply because it always surprises me to find those that say “Catholics and Christians believe the same thing on the important issues, it is just in details where they differ.” Well, I suppose it matters what the “important issues are” but these five certainly touch on areas that are essential to the gospel.

http://thecripplegate.com/5-differences-between-catholic-theology-and-the-gospel/

Many Americans Claim 'God Told Me'

Many Americans Claim ‘God Told Me’

“God told me.” “God spoke to my heart.” “God gave me a vision/dream/liver shiver.”

Oct. 30, 2013

There is no shortage of ways in which people today claim the Lord of the universe has spoken personally and directly to them outside of Scripture. These professions of personal revelation are perhaps one of the most dangerous daggers being wielded in the visible church today. Once the man (or worse, the woman) on stage or behind the pulpit claims that he (or she) has received a personal word from the Lord, the authority of God’s true revealed Word as found in Scripture is thrown under the proverbial bus. After all, who can argue with “Thus saith the Lord”?

And if God allegedly has told one person one thing and another person a contradicting thing, how is one to know who has the true word? All reason and truth becomes relative to each individual’s experience and the only truth that can be known and trusted—God’s Word—is placed back onto the bookshelf or coffee table to collect dust while the more vivid and emotional experiences rock the professing believer to and fro.

Yet none of this has hindered myriads of professing Christians from seeking to hear directly and personally from the Almighty outside of His Word. Recent research from YouGov reveals the following:

Out of the 76% of Americans who said that they personally believe in the existence of a God, half say that they have at least once before done something because God told them to. Including non-believers, this makes up 38% of the entire country.

The group most likely to have acted on God’s command are ‘born-again’ or evangelical Christians, who make up about a third of Americans. Almost two-thirds (65%) of born-again Christians say God has told them to do something at least once before. Only a quarter (25%) of the remaining population have ever had the same experience.1

In fairness, this article does not specify the means by which ‘God’ instructed these individuals. Perhaps some of them meant that ‘Gold told them’ to do something through His Word. Those who have been saved by God do, of course, seek to obey the One who was gracious enough to redeem them.

You are my friends if you do what I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you. (John 15:14–16)

Yet a cursory glance at the so-called evangelical landscape of American Christianity steals away a bit of the hope that those who are making these claims of direct instruction from God are referring to the infallible Word. The study at YouGov goes on to state:

In broader religious terms, Protestants (56%) are much more likely than Catholics (39%) to say that they have done things under the instruction of God.2

This is not surprising when one considers the great amount of people who are actively engaged in the charismatic movement.

The reader may remember a post from August 2013 entitled “God Speaks, but How?” wherein Pastor Rob Reimer of South Shore Community Church in Brockton, Massachusetts was mentioned.

In his book Pathways to the King, Reimer states:

The gift of the Spirit is about a direct experience with God. We will hear God’s voice—through dreams, visions, and prophecy—and that will authenticate the presence of God and draw people to direct experiences with Him. This is for all God’s people: men, women, and children.3

Reimer is not the only pastor or leader who makes such claims. In his book Dreaming with God: Co-Laboring with God for Cultural Transformation, pastor of Bethel Church in Redding, CA, Bill Johnson offers his “practical suggestions for those wanting to grow in revelation from God.”

States Johnson:

God loves to visit us in the night and give us instruction that we would have a hard time receiving during the day (see Job 33:15–16). The desire to give God our night season flows naturally from the child’s heart that knows revelation cannot be earned. Ask Him specifically to minister to you in the night through visions and dreams. Once you have a dream or vision, write it out, and ask Him for understanding.4

Johnson further declares:

But be accustomed to hearing more than you can share with others. Listen as He speaks, but speak only what He gives you freedom to speak about. Some things are revealed only because we’re friends, and are not to be shared with others.5

And here is Kim Walker-Smith, lead singer of popular band Jesus Culture, describing her alleged experience with God the Father and Jesus the Son:

Of course, there are few who are unfamiliar with popular pastor Mark Driscoll’s so-called ‘gift of discernment,’ wherein he claims that God shares lewd and inappropriate visions on a television screen in his head. Video of Driscoll’s claims can be viewed here:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aVyFyauE4ig&feature=youtu.be

Even popular Southern Baptist Bible teacher Beth Moore [U]has claimed to receive direct revelation from God:[/U]:confused1:

Beloved, I am convinced one of our severest needs is pure rest. Not only sleep, but refreshment and recreation. Recently God spoke to me about capturing what He and I are calling “Sabbath moments.” Like many of yours, my schedule right now is particularly tough, and I see no time in the near future for a number of days off. God spoke to my heart one Saturday morning while I was preparing for Sunday school: “My child, in between more intense rests, I want to teach you to take Sabbath moments.” I wasn’t certain what He meant. Just that morning God confirmed His desire for me to drive all the way to the other side of Houston to the medical center to visit a patient with brain cancer. I was very thankful for the privilege of visiting this patient, but I knew in advance it would be tough emotionally and far from restful.

I fought the traffic across Houston, then visited with my new friend and her husband while choking back the tears. They have two young sons, and unless God performs a miracle, their mother will go home to be with the Lord before they are grown. I got in my car and prayed. I pulled out of the parking garage, fighting the tears. A few blocks later as if on autopilot, I turned my steering wheel straight into the parking lot of the Houston Zoo!

Christ seemed to say, “Let’s go play.” And that we did. I hadn’t been to the zoo in years. I heard about all the improvements, but I never expected the ultimate: Starbucks coffee! (OK, so I don’t have all my health issues down pat.) Can you imagine watching a baby koala take a nap in a tree on a rare cold day in Houston with a Starbucks grande cappuccino in your hand? Now that’s a Sabbath moment! God and I had a blast.6

:dizzy:

With all of these claims of private and personal revelation, those who are not ‘hearing from God’ may begin to feel inadequate, unworthy or less spiritual. The Christian who is not hearing voices or receiving alleged visions can take heart, however, because the Lord has spoken and does continue to speak, not through these subjective, untested private messages, but through His Word. And, contrary to Bill Johnson’s claims above, the entirety of that Word is available to all people everywhere anytime a person opens the Bible and reads and proclaims the truth contained therein.

This Word is not dead simply because it is contained in a book. Rather, it is more alive than any false claim made by those who would deceive others by teaching their own private prophecies.

For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. (Heb 4:12)

For, “All flesh is like grass, and all its glory like the flower of grass. The grass withers, and the flower falls off, but the word of the Lord endures forever.” And this is the word which was preached to you. (1 Pet 1:24–25)

You, however, continue in the things you have learned and become convinced of, knowing from whom you have learned them, and that from childhood you have known the sacred writings which are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is [breathed out] by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work. (2 Tim 3:14–17)

Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth. (John 17:17)

Indeed, the Word of God is pure and undefiled truth. And contained within the pages of Scripture is the saving gospel of Jesus Christ, who is the living Word (John 1:1), the only Way, Truth and Life (John 14:6) and who is the only Savior of sinners (Acts 4:12).

In answer to the aforementioned YouGov study, then, is God speaking to 38% of Americans? Yes, though not in the way likely meant by those who participated in this research. In fact, God is speaking to all men everywhere through His Word, which is full, final and complete.

And so through the Scriptures God has given us a body of teaching that is final and complete. Our Christian faith rests on historical, objective revelation. That rules out all prophecies, seers, and other forms of new revelation until God speaks again at the return of Christ (cf. Acts 2:16–21; Rev 11:1–13). . . .

Ultimately, Scripture is the test of everything; it is the Christian’s standard. In fact, the word ‘canon’ means ‘a rule, standard, or measuring rod.’ The canon of Scripture is the measuring rod of the Christian faith, and it is complete.7

If you, dear reader, fear that you are lacking because you have not ‘heard from God,’ then you need only do this: find a Bible, open it and read it. It is God’s own Word, breathed out by Him. It contains perfect truth and the words of life. Do not neglect His Word.

1. “God told me to, say 38% of Americans,” accessed 28 October 2013.

2. “God told me to, say 38% of Americans,” accessed 28 October 2013.

3. Rob Reimer, Pathways to the King, (Carpenter’s Son Publishing: 2013), 68.

4. Bill Johnson, Dreaming with God: Co-Laboring with God for Cultural Transformation, (Destiny Image Publishers: 2006), 144.

5. Bill Johnson, Dreaming with God: Co-Laboring with God for Cultural Transformation, (Destiny Image Publishers: 2006), 144–5.

6. Beth Moore, The Beloved Disciple, (B&H Publishing: 2003), 220.

7. John MacArthur, “Does God Still Give Revelation?” The Masters Seminary Journal 14, vol 2, Fall 2003.

Further Reading:

God Speaks, but How?

What God Says about His Word

Why Do We Believe the Bible?

http://www.donotbesurprised.com/2013/10/many-americans-claim-god-told-me.html

October 30, 2013 Bible Reading

October 30

Reading for Today:

Jeremiah 45:1–46:28

Psalm 119:105-112

Proverbs 28:4

2 Timothy 3:1-17

Notes:

Jeremiah 45:3- Woe is me now! Baruch felt anxiety as his own cherished plans of a bright future were apparently dashed; even death became a darkening peril (v. 5). Also, he was possibly pressed by human questionings about God carrying through with such calamity (v. 4). Jeremiah spoke to encourage him (v. 2).

Jeremiah 45:5 you seek great things. Baruch had his expectations far too high and that made the disasters harder to bear. It is enough that he be content just to live. Jeremiah, who once also complained, learned by his own suffering to encourage complainers.

2 Timothy 3:1- the last days. This phrase refers to this age, the time since the First Coming of the Lord Jesus. perilous times. “Perilous” is used to describe the savage nature of two demon-possessed men (Matt. 8:28). The word for “times” had to do with epochs rather than clock or calendar time. Such savage, dangerous eras or epochs will increase in frequency and severity as the return of Christ approaches (v. 13). The church age is fraught with these dangerous movements accumulating strength as the end nears.

2 Timothy 3:8- Jannes and Jambres. Although their names are not mentioned in the Old Testament, they were likely two of the Egyptian magicians that opposed Moses (Ex. 7:11, 22; 8:7, 18, 19; 9:11). According to Jewish tradition, they pretended to become Jewish proselytes, instigated the worship of the golden calf, and were killed with the rest of the idolaters (Ex. 32). Paul’s choice of them as examples may indicate the false teachers at Ephesus were practicing deceiving signs and wonders.

DAY 30: How does 2 Timothy 3:16 describe Scripture?

“All Scripture”—both Old Testament and New Testament Scripture are included (2 Pet. 3:15, 16, which identify New Testament writings as Scripture). “Is given by inspiration of God.” Literally, “breathed out by God” or “God-breathed.” Sometimes God told the Bible writers the exact words to say (Jer. 1:9), but more often He used their minds, vocabularies, and experiences to produce His own infallible, inerrant Word (1 Thess. 2:13; Heb. 1:1; 2 Pet. 1:20, 21). It is important to note that inspiration applies only to the original autographs of Scripture, not the Bible writers; there are no inspired Scripture writers, only inspired Scripture. So identified is God with His Word that when Scripture speaks, God speaks (Rom. 9:17; Gal. 3:8). Scripture is called “the oracles of God” (Rom. 3:2; 1 Pet. 4:11) and cannot be altered (John 10:35; Matt. 5:17, 18; Luke 16:17; Rev. 22:18, 19).

“And is profitable for doctrine.” The divine instruction or doctrinal content of both the Old Testament and the New Testament (2:15; Acts 20:18, 20, 21, 27; 1 Cor. 2:14–16; Col. 3:16; 1 John 2:20, 24, 27). The Scripture provides the comprehensive and complete body of divine truth necessary for life and godliness. “For reproof.” Rebuke for wrong behavior or wrong belief. The Scripture exposes sin (Heb. 4:12, 13) that can then be dealt with through confession and repentance. “For correction.” The restoration of something to its proper condition. The word appears only here in the New Testament, but was used in extrabiblical Greek of righting a fallen object or helping back to their feet those who had stumbled. Scripture not only rebukes wrong behavior but also points the way back to godly living. “For instruction in righteousness.” Scripture provides positive training (“instruction” originally referred to training a child) in godly behavior, not merely rebuke and correction of wrong behavior (Acts 20:32; 1 Tim. 4:6; 1 Pet. 2:1, 2).

http://www.gty.org/resources/devotionals/daily-bible

Increasing Your Spiritual Strength

Increasing Your Spiritual Strength

[COLOR=Red]”All Scripture is . . . profitable for . . . correction” (2 Tim. 3:16)

If you’re a gardening buff, you know that skillful pruning promotes the overall growth and productivity of a plant. Jesus assumed His audience knew as much when He said, “I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it, that it may bear more fruit. You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you” (John 15:1-3).

Jesus was comparing believers to branches, which the Father prunes for maximum productivity. The Word is His pruning shear, which He applies with skill and precision to remove our imperfections and promote godliness. He wants to eliminate anything from our lives that may restrict our spiritual growth.

The word translated “correction” in 2 Timothy 3:16 speaks of the strengthening work of God’s Word. Scripture not only exposes your sin, but it also strengthens you and restores you to a proper spiritual posture. It convicts you and then gives you instruction to build you up again.

Job 17:9 says, “The righteous shall hold to his way, and he who has clean hands shall grow stronger and stronger.” Paul added, “I commend you to God and to the word of His grace, which is able to build you up and to give you the inheritance among all those who are sanctified” (Acts 20:32).

As the Spirit uses Scripture to expose sin in your life, forsake that sin and follow what Scripture says to do instead. You will be strengthened in your spiritual walk as a result. To aid in that process be “constantly nourished on the words of the faith and . . . sound doctrine” (1 Tim. 4:6).

I firmly believe that any weaknesses you have can become areas of great strength as you allow God’s Word to do its sanctifying work within you.

Suggestions for Prayer:

Thank God for the strengthening and restoring power of His Word.

If there’s an area of your life that is weak and vulnerable to temptation, confess it to the Lord and begin today to strengthen it according to the Word.

For Further Study:

Read Ephesians 1:18-23 and 3:14-21.

What did Paul pray for?

How did God demonstrate His power toward believers?

Is God’s power sufficient for all your spiritual needs? Explain.

From Drawing Near by John MacArthur Copyright © 1993. Used by permission of Crossway Books, a division of Good News Publishers, Wheaton, IL 60187, www.crossway.com.[/COLOR]

http://www.gty.org/resources/devotionals

A Muslim preacher on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem says this sacred

A Muslim preacher on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem says this sacred piece of real estate belongs to the Muslims and it will belong to them forever

October 29, 2013

Sheikh Yousef Salami, a Muslim preacher at Al Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, said that this sacred spot is an Islamic holy site as determined by the Creator of the world and as indicated in the Koran and shall belong to Muslims forever.

The sheikh’s statement was in response to a ruling by Israel’s attorney general that the Temple Mount in Jerusalem is part of Israeli territory and Israeli law applies to this holy site.

The Temple Mount was left in the hands of an Islamic Trust by the Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Dayan at the time of the reunification of Jerusalem during the Six Day War in 1967 and the Muslims have since then tried to remove every evidence of any Jewish presence at this Jewish holy site.

Jimmy’s Prophetic Prospective on the News

A statement by a Muslim preacher that the Temple Mount in Jerusalem is an Islamic holy site and will belong to the Muslims forever is setting the stage for Bible prophecy to be fulfilled.

Shiekh Yosef Salami stated recently that the Temple Mount in Jerusalem belongs to the Muslims and will belong to them forever based on the Koran. The shiekh said that the holy site was an Islamic site so determined by the Creator of the world. Since the reunification of Jerusalem during the Six Day War in 1967, the Islamic Trust has had custodial control of the Temple Mount but Israel claims sovereignty over this holy site. The Jews say that the Temple Mount is the most sacred site in all of Judaism which is backed up by God’s Word, the Bible.

God promised Jewish King David this holy site for a temple that one day will stand on the Temple Mount forever, II Samuel 7. Jesus said He would come back to Jerusalem and build that temple one day, Zechariah 1:16. The Temple Mount is the holy mountain of God according to Daniel 9:16, 20; a place where the Lord said He would dwell among His people, the Jewish people, forever, Psalm 132:13-14.

This pronouncement by a Muslim preacher that the Temple Mount will belong to the Muslims forever is indeed setting the stage for Bible prophecy to be fulfilled.

http://news.prophecytoday.com/2013_10_29_archive.html

An Egyptian Muslim cleric says people have a thirst for the blood of

An Egyptian Muslim cleric says people have a thirst for the blood of the Jewish people

October 28, 2013

Seen recently on Hamas Al Aqsa television in a sermon by the Egyptian Muslim cleric Salah Sultan, the Islamist said that as he traveled across the world he met people who thirsted for the blood of Jews and they are eager for the promised war against the sons of Zion, the Jewish people.

Sultan also said under the previous Egyptian regime over 30,000 Zionists entered Egypt every month and they defiled the land of the Islamist Egyptians.

In the past, Sultan had accused the Jews of making Passover matzahs from the blood of Christian children and has called for the murder of every Zionist who enters Egypt.

Jimmy’s Prophetic Prospective on the News

A radical Egyptian Muslim cleric calling for the murder of every Jew that enters Egypt so they can quench their thirst for Jewish blood is a page out of Bible prophecy for the last days.

The radical Islamist Muslim cleric Salah Sultan has crossed a line in his call for the murdering of Jews so that people can quench their thirst for Jewish blood. This seems to be the epitome of hatred for the Jewish people by an element of radical Islam. The fact that Hamas television would air such a horrific statement by anyone is beyond the pale as well. However, when you are a student of Bible prophecy you recognize what is for sure setting the stage for Bible prophecy to be fulfilled.

Down through history, there has been a conflict between the Jews and the Egyptians. Four thousand years ago, the family of Jacob which became the nation of Israel, was under Egyptian bondage for 400 years, a fulfillment of the prophecy in Genesis 15. In recent history, the Jewish state has been involved in at least three wars with Egypt in 1948, 1967, and 1973. As it relates to the future, Egypt will join a coalition of nations that will move to destroy the Jewish state, Daniel 11:40-43 where Egypt is referred to as the King of the North. Other Jewish prophets foretell of a future Israeli-Egyptian conflict as well like Jeremiah and Ezekiel.

A radical Egyptian Muslim cleric saying that people have a thirst for Jewish blood is indeed setting the stage for Bible prophecy to be fulfilled.

http://news.prophecytoday.com/2013_10_28_archive.html